The South Korean prime minister said Sunday that the country would soon begin administering booster shots to health care workers and people over the age of 60 as they fought a new wave of infection after a national holiday.
In South Korea, infections have surged recently as millions of people returned home after Chuseok, a three-day holiday celebrating the autumn harvest. On Sunday, Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom said the vaccination campaign would speed up. He said more than 85% of new cases in the last few weeks were completely unvaccinated. Details of the new plan will be announced on Monday.
“I feel the keen impact of the massive migration during the Chuseok vacation,” Kim said. “I expected this to some extent, but given the scale and rate of new case growth, we are facing a serious situation.”
South Korea warned earlier this month that a surge in incidents related to Delta variants jeopardized plans to return to a more normal lifestyle in November. The country has already begun to relax some restrictions, including keeping restaurants and bars open until 10 pm as vaccinations have begun. However, more than 18 months have passed since the pandemic occurred, and fatigue has increased, and the government is uncertain how strict Koreans are following this measure.
According to Kim, South Korea will also start giving shots to teenagers and pregnant women. Currently, anyone over the age of 18 is eligible for vaccination. From October, the interval between the first and second shots will be shorter. So far, about 45% of the total population has been fully vaccinated and about 74% have been partially vaccinated, according to the latest government data.
South Korea reported a record 3,273 new cases on Saturday after hovering nearly 2,000 cases before vacation.